Recovering from STEM and my journey to ancient Greece

I missed out on a classical education because I was too busy getting a STEM education. If you're unfamiliar with the acronym, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It's all the rage among educators and political types who believe we have "some catching up to do" with the rest of the world.

Achilles stands over Hector's corpse
source: Wikimedia Commons
There's nothing inherently wrong with a STEM education if that's your bent. Judging by the statistics, it makes a new graduate imminently more employable than does an education in English lit, philosophy, history or any one of the other really interesting subjects.

My STEM education certainly fueled my career and still does. I describe my day
job as a freelance writer as being one where I "help smart people communicate effectively." What I really do is translate what the engineers say into language that's understandable to the CEO and CFO. I love it, and I would not have the background necessary to do it without untold hours in classes I sometimes had to slog through.

But, as much as I enjoy my day job, my passion is writing fiction, and STEM doesn't help much with American Historical Romance novels. For that, I have some catching up of my own to do.

My latest endeavor was The Iliad. Somehow, I managed to get through high school and four years of college without ever reading it. Looking back, that seemed like a tragedy in its own right.

However, like the less-than-perfect student, I cheated. Instead of reading it, I got an abridged translation from Audible. As I wrote in my review, I started out reading it, but all the characters sounded like Jean Luc Picard in my head. As much as I like Patrick Stewart, listening to Derek Jacobi was much better.

At the same time, I listened to Dr. Elizabeth Vandiver's lecture series on The Iliad of Homer. The Great Courses have been instrumental in my recovery from STEM and Dr. Vandiver is one of my favorite lecturers.

Now that I have The Iliad out of the way, what's next? One might think The Odyssey would be the next stop, but I already listened to The Great Courses Lecture Series on that. Eventually, I hope to come back to that and find an equally inspiring rendition of the actual story. But for now, the next classic in line is Don Quixote as it's an underlying theme in the story I'm working on now.

Again, I've never read it, but I was familiar with the storyline due to the number of not-so-classical references to it in popular literature. Most notably, for me, an episode of Quantum Leap.  In addition to recovering from STEM, I guess I'm also recovering from being a child of the 70s.

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